English school pupils could be asked to sit digital GCSE exams from 2026 onwards under new proposals from the country's largest exam board.

The AQA is looking to roll out on-screen exams over a period of a few years with hopes to allow students to sit at least one major subject digitally by 2030.

The reading and listening component of GCSE Italian and Polish would be the first subjects to move to digital exams in 2026.

Digital exams in England could lead to 'more innovative and interactive assessments'

A report from the AQA said that the first GCSE exams would largely replicate existing exam papers but said that this new format could lead to “more innovative and interactive assessment[s]” in the long term.

The report said that digital exams could help prepare pupils in England for the digital world and that these plans are more inclusive and "environmentally sustainable".

It added: “We will not do away with traditional pen and paper exams in a rush, and anticipate an exam system where some components of some GCSE or A-level courses are delivered in a paper-based manner and other components are digitally delivered.”

Student devices will be offline, making it impossible to search for information online or access AI tools.

Colin Hughes, chief executive of AQA, said: “Technology and change are two constants in education. After all, we went from quills to fountain pens to biros, and from scrolls to books. Moving to digital exams is the next step of this evolution.

“We cannot and should not change the way we conduct exams overnight. AQA has spent several years trialling and piloting digital exams and we will roll them out over many years.

“Our ambition is that students will sit a large-entry subject – that means, in our case, hundreds of thousands of simultaneous exams – digitally by 2030.

“In the meantime, we’ll continue to talk to teachers, school leaders and exams officers about how they want to make these changes. The benefits are substantial.”

This comes after the OCR exam board piloted digital exams in schools across the country earlier this year.

This also follows on from government proposals to have longer school hours and more time spent in maths lessons as well plans to replace A-Levels and T-Levels with a single qualification called The Advanced British Standard.